The students in New Rochelle High School’s Science Research Program explore a dazzling range of topics under the mentorship of experts from some of the top institutions of learning and exploration. Students’ projects will regularly be featured in the district's weekly Newsletter.
Student: Lila Ferrucci, junior
Mentor: Dr. Katherine Durham, clinical psychologist, Columbia University
One day, while experiencing a bout of anxiety, New Rochelle High School student Lila Ferrucci agreed to do meditation with her mother to achieve calmness.
“I saw how the meditation helped me feel less anxious, and decided I wanted to study how this might affect teenagers in a clinical setting,” said Ferrucci. had been interested in science and experiments since elementary school, which drew her to the Science Research Program. For her project, Ferrucci investigated the effects of a one-minute mindfulness video on present-moment anxiety in teenagers.
The subjects in the study (ranging from 13 to 18 years old) were asked to fill out two psychological questionnaires that examined overall anxiety and in-the-moment anxiety, and then watch a short mindfulness video. They then were asked to fill out a second psychological questionnaire to determine if their in-the-moment anxiety had been affected by the video.
“My results showed that no matter the level of overall anxiety, the brief mindfulness video was able to affect in-the-moment anxiety,” Ferrucci said.
The study was a positive experience for Ferrucci, who felt it provided skills to “create great presentations and the confidence to present” them. She believes the experience will continue to influence her after high school.
“In this course, I have had an introduction to psychology, which has influenced what I would like to study in college,” she said. “I now would like to be a psychologist, and this program has inspired me to do so.”